Elite XC Falters

October 23, 2008

Though it's unclear at this point exactly what the status of Elite XC is, multiple reports have been circulating that the promotion has canceled its future events and ceased operations, effective immediately. It's also been reported that the company will file for bankruptcy. In the absence of an authorized statement from company officials, it's impossible to say for sure that we've seen the last of the league, but all indications are saying the end is neigh. 

The Elite XC brand entered the MMA scene just 22 months ago, but was widely unrecognized by the general public until May of this year, when it broke new ground by broadcasting its "Saturday Night Fights" live in primetime on major broadcast network CBS. The series continued on CBS, achieving varied ratings success. Ending on a high note, the final broadcast featuring street fighter Kimbo Slice received ratings that both Elite XC and CBS executives were reportedly happy with. Slice, the league's marquis athlete, was knocked out by stand-in Seth Petruzelli in seconds after Ken Shamrock was ruled out of the main event by doctors.

The great ratings story was tainted by allegations that company officials attempted to influence the outcome of the Slice/Petruzelli headliner. The controversy was exacerbated by Petruzelli who went on a radio show after the fight and claimed that league officials told him to stand and throw blows with Kimbo. He later recanted his statement. This controversy alone had the potential to significantly harm Elite XC, but it was just the final straw that would break an organization that had been accused of frivolous spending, corruption, and mismanagement.

According to SEC filings, Elite XC was not able to translate its high-profile broadcasts into revenue as it hemorrhaged upwards of $20 million. Its initial contract with Showtime was viewed by many as a mistake, and when the entertainment company failed to come to Elite XC's aid after the Slice/Petruzelli scandal, its fate was seemingly sealed.

The biggest victims here are the fighters who bought into Elite XC and sacrificed what could have been lucrative careers in other organizations. The promotion had a relatively small stable, but it was filled some outstanding athletes and only time will tell what their futures hold.

The meteoric rise and fall of Elite XC is a blow to the entire sport, and it will be interesting to see if the fallout will cast a shadow onto the great people who have helped make mixed martial arts the fastest growing sport in America.

Elite XC was contacted for this story, but as of press time, had not returned our calls.